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Crich Parish Well Dressing 2018 - Sow Seeds of Peace

by Andrew Auld

Well Dressings at the troughs in Crich Market Place

In this our tenth year, we are very proud to be taking part in the 2018 Crich Parish Well Dressing. The theme is in commemoration of the end of World War One. Jan Rowland, one of our employees at the loaf made the suggestion that we could take part this year and we decided at once that it was a great idea. We have always tried to make the loaf a business that is involved in and contributes to the community of Crich...taking part in this great community event is the perfect way of helping us celebrate our ten years in the village.

Women's Land Army poster
Women’s Land Army

We were keen to find a design for the well dressing that both commemorated the end of the war, but also made a connection back to the loaf. Our first thought was the Women's Land Army and the role that so many women played in keeping the country fed during the war.

Sow Seeds of Victory
Sow Seeds of Victory

We then came across this image used as part of galvanising the American war effort. Though the idea of promoting Victory didn't seem to fit with the celebration of Peace at the close of the war, the sentiment of this image, combined with the one of the Women's Land Army felt like the right way to go with the design.

Jan Rowland on completion of the Well Dressing
Jan completes her hard work

Jan then sketched a final design that suited a slightly amended version of the American slogan but conveyed the atmosphere of the British Women's Land Army image. It was then a meticulously planned few weeks of activity. Firstly gathering different coloured and shaped seeds, pulses and grains from the loaf's dry store and pre-treating them to prevent unwanted sprouting once embedded in the wet clay. Next, soaking the frame and clay in a paddling pool in the training room at the loaf before transferring the operation up to Jan's garden. Then the skilled job of 'sketching' out the design in the clay using black wool. After that, the meticulous work of pressing seeds, grain and beans into the clay for the main structural and background elements of the design. Finally, the job of raiding various gardens for flowers, stems, leaves and seed heads to use in the last few hours to complete the design.

Alex and Alex carefully load the Well Dressing into the Van
The Alex’s on transport duty

This was Jan's first ever attempt at a Well Dressing - something she has long wanted to do. There was some trial and error involved as closely-packed beans swelled up over night, certain flowers though at first vibrant, shrivelled quickly and some flowers just seemed to sing out where others just didn't really work once in the clay and part of the design.

Alex and Alex were very careful loading the finished work into the loaf van for its short journey down to the Market Place.

Jan stands proudly in front of her Well Dressing
Jan Sows Seeds of Peace

Though Jan is naturally modest about what she has achieved, as I am sure you will agree if you get to see the final result over the coming few days, we think she is a natural! As it was installed above the drinking troughs in the Market Place alongside the other beautiful Well Dressings, Jan was rightly gently pleased with her efforts.

Thank you, Jan, for doing the loaf proud with this beautiful and fitting Well Dressing.

Sow Seeds of Peace
Sow Seeds of Peace

If you would like to view all 13 of the Well Dressings that have been made by various community organisations and businesses, then you can buy one of the trail maps from the loaf. The map also includes locations of the first ever Crich Parish Open Gardens. The blessing of the well dressings is taking place on Saturday 7 July at 10:30am in front of the Market Place Well Dressings. There will then be a Well Dressing Service and Flower Festival at 3pm at St Mary's Church, Crich followed by afternoon tea. 

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